tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 5, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PST
along they are being directed from behind. eugene robinson, joy reid, thank you for joining us. chris matthews is up next. tonight we bring to you my interview with president obama. i have covered two great world events in my career. one was the fall of the berlin wall in 1989. the other was the first democratic election in south africa five years later. i was there when the country's black majority voted by the millions, waiting in lines that stretched from one horizon to the other. i saw first hand the devotion to democracy. it was the great legacy of the man who died today. president obama paid tribute to nelson mandela today. through his fierce dignity and
unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others i moved all of us. he embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better. his commitment to transfer power and reconcile those who jailed him set an example for all to aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or in our own personal lives. i promised you the president of the united states. and he's here. let's play "hardball." >> it's my honor to introduce the president of the united states.
[ applause ] >> well, thank you, mr. president. >> it's good to see you. >> so what brought you to "hardball"? >> american university. [cheers and applause] >> "hardball" was just an excuse to hang out with these fine, young people. i've had just wonderful experiences here. first time i spoke here, actually, was when i was running for the presidency. and ted kennedy announced his endorsement here. obviously he was an incredible friend and spoke in here about immigration. so i just have a wonderful interaction with the young people here. they're doing a great job. >> let's play "hardball." >> let's do it. >> you have a college age group
and faculty. you have young people taking responsibility for their health care. what's your argument why they should do that. >> first of all, i understand why people would be resistant to going on a website that wasn't working right. and fortunately because of some very hard work we've thousand got it to the point where for the vast majority of people it's working well. my message to the young people is take a look yourself. most college age students, because of the law can stay on their parents' plan, and that hey be the best deal for them. and we've already insured about 3 million people. and your first job where you don't have full health insurance benefits may mean that you stay on your parents' plan a little bit longer. but at some point, let's say when you turn 26, if you're between jobs or you've got a
passion, you're wanting to start a business. and you're not going to have health insurance, this gives you the opportunity to get high quality health insurance, and for most people under 30, it's probably going to cost you less than your cell phone bill or your cable bill, less than a hundred bucks. and you know, there was a time when i looked healthy like these folks and thought i was never going to get sick. but what you discover is that some tuff stuff happens. you have a run of bad luck. you suddenly need hospitalization. you have an accident. you get an illness. and for young people to recognize that it is in their financial interest and their health interest to be able to get ongoing preventive care, to be able to get free contraception and, you know, benefits that, like mammograms that allow them to maintain their health throughout their
lives without fear of going bankrupt or making their family bankrupt if they get sick, that's something that's priceless, and i think most young people are going to recognize that. so my advice to everybody is the website's now working. go to healthcare.gov, take a look for yourself, what's available in your state. there is no reason why you should not have health insurance. by the way, if you don't get health insurance and then you get in an accident, the rest of us end up paying for it because the hospitals, they end up essentially charging folks with insurance an average about a thousand dollars per family in hidden subsidies for the people who don't have health insurance. that's part of what we're trying to eliminate. >> when you saw the story today about the national security agency basically patrolling all the cell phones in the world, basically, a lot of young people point to the privacy requirements. they don't like being part of anything that's collecting
information. health care, is this going to be one of the detriments? >> health care is entirely different. it's more similar to seniors who sign up for medicare or people who file their taxes. you know, there are a whole bunch of things where you're providing information to the government. it's protected. it's governed by a whole series of laws. and the nsa issue is a broader issue. and you're right. young people rightly are sensitive to the need to maintain their privacy and their internet freedom. and by the way, so am i. that's part of not just our first amendment rights and expectations, but it's particularly something young people care so much about because they spend so much time texting and instagraming and, you know. >> whatever. >> i mean, something's coming up every single day. and so all of us spend more and more of our lives in sign ea si.
now the reality is, first of all, we have people who are trying to hurt us. and they communicate through these same systems. if we're going to do better about preventing a terrorist attack, we do want to keep eyes on some bad actors. the second thing is that the same cyberspace that gives us all this incredible information and allows us to reach out around the world makes our bank accounts vulnerable. cybercrime is a huge problem and a growing problem. so we've got to be in there some way to help protect the american people even as we're also making sure that the government doesn't abuse it. now i can't, i can't confirm or get into the details of every aspekts of what the nsa does. and the way this has been reported, the snowden disclosures have identified some
areas of legitimate concern. some of it has also been highly sensationalized. and, you know, has been painted in a way that's not accurate. i've said before, and i will say it again, the nsa actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people's e-mails, not listening to the contents of their phone calls. outside of our borders, the nsa's more aggressive. it's not constrained by laws. and part of what we're trying to do over the next month or so is having done an independent review and brought a whole bunch of folks civil libertarians and lawyers and others to examine what's being done, i'll be proposing some self-restraint on the nsa and, you know, to initiate some reforms that can give people more confidence, but i want everybody to be clear.
the people at the nsa generally are looking out for the safety of the american people. they are not interested in reading your e-mails. they're not interested in reading your text messages. and that's not something that's done. and we've got a big system of checks and balance, including the courts and congress who have capacity to prevent that from happening. >> mr. president, let's look at that question of competence and trust in government. 50 years ago in june of 1963, president kennedy spoke here at the american university. let's listen to something he said that applies to the situation we're in now politically. >> our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man. and man can be as big as he wants. no problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they
can do it again. >> how do we get back to that confidence that we can solve our man-made problems and other problems. >> you know, i have that confidence. we've gone through a tough time over the last five years. and most of the young people who are here today have come of age during as difficult a period as we've seen in our modern history. we went through the worst financial crisis since the great depression. we have gone through wars. this is part of the 9/11 generation who was very young at the time but remembers the trauma of that event, and yet, if you look at it, we've now ended the war in iraq. we're about to end the war in afghanistan. we've begun a recovery that is not yet complete coming out of the financial crisis, but the job market is getting better. our economy is improving. we have doubled our production
of clean energy. doubled our production of traditional energy sources. we are on the brink of being as close to energy independent as any country our size could be in a very long time. we still have the best universities on earth, the best researchers and scientists on earth, the best workers on earth and the most innovative companies on earth and we're still the envy of the world and the most indispensable nation. so i continue to have confidence in our ability to solve our problems. there is a specific problem that we've got, and that is a congress, and this city, washington, that is gridlocked and spends too much time worrying about the next election and not enough time worrying about the next generation. and, you know, the solution to that is ultimately what was envisioned by our founders and what jack kennedy understood as well, and that's the american
people. you know. we go through these periods where our politics gets all mixed up. and the truth is we're nostalgic about the past. >> i am. >> i know you are. but the truth is, when you lack at our history, there have been a lot of times when congress gets stuck. but we get through it. and the reason we get through it is ultimately the american people have pretty good instincts, and if over and over again that we're not addressing the core problems that we have, eventually, they will put in place folks who are serious about getting the work done. >> let's talk about the problem with the laegs laytive branch the other day speaker boehner said we can't get anything done because we have a divided country, a divided congress. that's the nature of the country. there's an aisle down the center of the house. those aisles have been there.
we've rarely had power in one party for more than a year or two. they used to compromise. my argument is they used to compromise and blame the other party for the parts they don't like. why not strike a deal and then you can blame boehner for the parts you don't like and he can blame you for the parts he doesn't like. >> couple of things. first of all. >> why not compromise? >> i think, chris, it's fair to say that i have always been prepared to not only negotiate, but to go ahead and push forward on principled compromises. in fact, sometimes on your station, msnbc i've been blasted for being too willing to compromise. so the problem is not generally speaking on the democratic side. and obviously i'm partisan here. but objectively i think you can look at it and you can say that the big challenge we've got is
you have a faction of the republican party that sees compromise as a dirty word, that has moved so far to the right that it would be difficult for ronald reagan to win the nomination for the republican party at this point. and, as a consequence, it is more challenging, but a couple things i just want to point out. >> but you've got three and a half more years to deal with this situation. >> couple things i'll point out. first of all, usually, when we've made big progress on issues, it actually has been when one party controlled the government for a period of time. i mean, the big strides we made in the new deal, the big strides we made with the great society, you know, those were times where you had a big majority. and when ronald reagan made changes in the direction of a more republican agenda, it was when he had a majority. what you're right about, though, is that when we had divided
government most of the time, there's about are 70%, 80% overlap between the parties. we're not like some countries that, where you actually have a socialist party on one hand and an ultra conservative party on the other hand. most of the time, we're playing between the 40 yard line here. so my argument to boehner and mcconnell and everybody else up there is let's go ahead and have big arguments on the things we disagree about, but why don't we go ahead and work on the things we do agree about, and a classic example of this is immigration reform. we know that the majority of the american people think the system's broken. we now have a vote out of the senate, vote democrats and republicans voted for a common sense bill that would strengthen our boarders, that would fix the legal immigration system, to make it easier fiortal ents to come here and work hard and
become part of america and that would hold companies accountable when they're hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them, and by the way, deal with the 11 million people who are in the shadows right now. we have the majority of the american people who think it's a good idea and a majority of the senate, including republicans, who think it's a good idea. the only thing stopping it right now is what i mentioned earlier, a faction in the republican party that is resistant. i think john boehner is sincere about getting it done. >> didn't he just say we won't do it in '14? >> i think that there's so much focus on the politics of the base and republicans being worried about getting challenged during the primary season that that inhibits a lot of cooperation that is there, and i actually think there are a bunch of republicans who want to get stuff done. they've got to be embarrassed,
because the truth of the matter is they've now been in charge of the house of representatives. one claim ber in one branch of government for a year now and they don't have a lot to show for it. >> in 1964, we looked it up, pugh study. 76% of the american people believe thad most of the time, almost always, the federal government did the right thing. now it's down to less than 20%. the trust question. the commitments you made before the rollout with health care. what is it, what is it that's just, it's a serial decline, mr. president. it keeps going down. i know we had watergate, the vietnam war, all of that together. what's going to stop that decline of faith of you doing the right thing. this skepticism that's out there. >> look, the skepticism and cynicism is deep. and i distinguish between, you
know, just management of government and the basic blocking and tackling, getting stuff done to help the american people and then the ability to move big policy changes that are going to help more americans. when it comes to the management of government, part of the reason people are so skeptical is that when we do things right they don't get a lot of attention. if we do something that is perceived, at least initially, as a screw up, it will be on the nightly news for a week. so let's take the example of the federal emergency management agency, fema. we got a guy who's been in charge, craig fugate, who has managed as many natural disasters over the last five years as just about anybody and has done a flawless job. >> so he's really doing a good job. unlike his president certificates. >> he's doing a heck of a job.
this guy -- and that's not just my opinion. that's the opinion of every governor and mayor that works with him, including republicans. nobody knows who this guy is. and if, in fact, we go in after sandy or after the tornados in oklahoma or missouri and we're helping a lot of people effectively and quickly and they're getting what they need, nobody hears about that. that's not something that's reported about. if on the other hand, you've got an office in cincinnati in the irs office that i think, forebureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether non-profit is actually a political organization, deserves a tax-exempt agency and they've got a list and suddenly everybody is outraged. >> 501 c- 4 is tricky to begin
with. >> there are some progressives perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week were just outraged at the possibility that these folks, you know, had been, at the direction of the democratic party in some way, discriminated against, tea party folks. and that is what gets news. that's what gets attention. now here's what i will say. you know, there are a couple million people working for the federal government. and i remember bob gates, my former secretary of defense, wonderful public servant, had serve the under seven presidents. i said so, bob, you got any advice for me? he said just understand you've got a lot of people working for you. somebody somewhere at this very moment is screwing something up. and that's true.
and so i have to consistently push on every cabinet secretary, on every single agency, how can we do things better? and we can do things better. part of what we need to do is reorganize the government which was designed primarily in 1935 or '45. we could consol date agencies. we've got to do a much better job as everybody has learned, buying information technologies. you know, how we make ourselves more customer friendly. those are all things that we can improve, but the upshot is the government still does a lot of good. and the last point i'll make on this is we've had a politic, frankly, you know, the entire republican party brand over, since ronald reagan has been government's the problem. and if you, day after day, week after week, election after election are running on that
platform, and that permeates our culture, and it's picked up by, you know, ordinary citizens who grow skeptical, then it's not surprising that over time trust in government declines. but, as i said in a speech yesterday, the biggest issue that i see out in the horizon is how do we make sure an economy works for everybody and that every one of these young people can get a good job, pursue a career, support a family, not be loaded up by $100,000 worth of debt, actually buy a home, how do we do those things that reduce inequality in our society and broaden opportunity. and government can't solve all of that, and we live in an economy that is global and tong technological and is changing faster than ever, but government can't stand on the sidelines in doing that. and without some faith in our
capacity for checktive action, those trends are going to get worse. >> and government in tech have to understand government is us. it's not somebody else. it's us. we have the capacity to change it. voters have the capacity to change it. members of congress do as well as the president. >> let's talk about the chief executive, you, and let's talk about a lot of young people came here to study government. there's all kinds of theories about how to be president. spokes in the wheel that kennedy used. then there was the strong chief of staff, the military command system of general eisenhower, and reagan with jim baker. if there should have been a ceo assigned by you personally with unique responsibility to oversee the rollout of health care, and there was. when secretary sebelius appeared in that hearing and she was asked by marsha blackburn who's in charge, and it took a while
for her to answer. and she got around to cms, and it didn't seem like there was a strong, top down authority system from you. did you have, do you have that? let's look forward here. do you have a relationship with your cabinet? did you have a system of cracking the whip that they follow through, they execute, as you envision they should where you work through a coo? what is your system for management? >> first of all, i think it's important to distinguish between this particular project, this health care project, where it is obvious that we needed additional controls in place, because it didn't deliver on time the way we wanted. and how we've managed incredibly complex problems for the last five years. everything from wars to pandemics to, you know, natural disasters to, you know,
expanding student loans for young people. generally speaking my theory has been number one, that yes, i've got a strong chief of staff, but i'm holding every cabinet member accountable, and i want to have strong interactions with them directly. number two, i have an open door policy, where i want people to be bringing me bad news on time so that we can fix things. and the challenge, i think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around white house organization. it actually has to do with what i referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated. some of which are not designed properly. we've got for example 16 different agencies that have some responsibility to help businesses, large and small in all kinds of ways, whether it's
helping to finance them, helping to export. and so if you're a small business person getting started, you may think you need to go to the small business administration on one thing, let's consolidate a bunch of that stuff. the challenge that we've got is that that requires a law to pass. and frankly, there are a lot of members of congress who are chairman of a particular committee, and they don't necessarily want consolidations where they would lose jurisdiction over certain aspects of certain policies. but their is going to be a major focus and has been over the last five years, but going forward over the next three year, how do we have a 21st century federal government. and this is why people are skeptical. there are just some things where people have an interaction with the federal government where it would be better.
everybody has the experience of going to get your driver 's license. why do you have to do a written test if you already have your license. there's more that we can do to organize the guts of how these agencies work. the white house is just a tiny part of what is a huge widespread organization with increasingly complex tasks in a complex world. >> let me ask you something else. he said what can we do to stop the gop from rigging the voigt state fwi state to disenfranchise voters and destroy our democracy. everybody knows the game. republicans often admit the game to deny people to vote. what's your reaction?
>> couple things. you saw the lines that we had not only in '08 but in '12. some of these folks might have stood in line. and i said on election night, that's not acceptable in a democracy that has been around as long as ours and that the world looks to. so we actually, immediately, assigned my chief election lawyer and mitt romney's chief election lawyer to sit down with a group of experts and sit down with a whole series of voter reforms. they're supposed to report back to me by the end of this year so that early next year we're going to put forward what we know will be a bipartisan effort or a bipartisan proposal to encourage people to vote. you can't say you take pride in american democracy, american constitutionalism, american exceptionalism and then you're doing everything you can to make
it harder for people to vote as opposed to easier for people to vote. i won't preview the proposals, because i haven't gotten them yet. keep in mind, though, for all of the efforts that have been maid, and some of them, by the way, may be illegal, may violate the voting rights act, even after the supreme court's recent ruling, and our justice department's going to be staying on them. if we have evidence that you have mechanisms that are specifically designed to discriminate against certain groups of voters, then the justice department will come down on them and file suit. the one point i want to make though, is that even with all the efforts that were made, let's say, in the last election, folks still voted. and if people feel engaged enough and have a sense of a stake in our democracy, you know, you'll be able to vote. and, our biggest problem right now is not the misguided efforts
of some of these state legislators. our bigger problem is the one you alluded to earlier, which is people's skepticism that government can in fact make a difference. we still have 40% of the population that's eligible to voigt who chooses to opt out. they're not being turn the away at the polls. they're turning themselves away from the polls. and that's something that we've got to get at, and young people in particular have a tendency to vote during presidential years and then just are not excited at all during midterms. these med term elections, in many ways are more important, because that's what's going to determine who's in charge of congress. and you may agree with me or disagree with me, but don't think it all ends with me. it's also important who's the speaker of the house, and who's in charge of the senate, and i hope young people increasingly understand that. >> government is now the number one concern even more than the
economy. >> thank you. we'll be back with a bit more here at american university. you're watching the "hardball" college tour from american university. [ applause ] . >> there is not a liberal america and a conservative america. there is the united states of america. [cheers and applause] >> there is not a black america and a white america and a latino america and asian america. there's the united states of america. good deal. you're talking to the guy who hasn't approved a new stapler purchase in three years. but then i saw the new windows tablet, with a real keyboard, usb port, and full office. it's a tablet that works for work. plus, it's got apps and games, for after hours, of course. compared to an ipad -- way more value. these tablets are such a steal; i couldn't find a reason not to buy them. ♪ honestly, i wanna see you be brave ♪
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of america. >> is going to be remembered as one great day in politics when barack obama, an american mother and kenyan father, the president of the harvard lawr review, a senator is already the number two candidate. >> back to the "hardball" college tour. your remarks the other day on economic justice, to me as a roman catholic, talk about the social, moral responsibility to look after people who haven't made in this country. >> there's no great religion that doesn't speak to this. every great religion has some equivalent of the golden rule,
that i am my brother's keeper and my sister's keeper, some notion that even as we each take individual responsibility for acting in a responsible and righteous way, part of our obligation is to the larger world and to future generations. and, i think pope francis is showing himself to be just an extraordinarily thoughtful and soulful messenger of peace and justice. i haven't had a chance to meet him yet, but everything that i've read, everything that i've seen from him indicates the degree to which he is trying to remind us of those core obligations. and as i said in my speech yesterday, we live in a market economy that is the greatest generator of wealth in history. we're risk takers.
we're entrepreneurs. and we're rugged individualists. and that's part of what makes us great. that's why we continue to be a magnet for strivers from all around the world, because they think, you know what, i'm not going to be held back by conventions and traditions, i'm going to go out there and make it and we want to maintain that sense of character, but what i always remind people is what also built this country was a sense of community and a sense of common endeavor. so whether it was building the transcontinental railroad or sending a man to the moon or helping to create the internet or curing diseases, you know, we always understood that there's some things we do better together. and that we should take pride as a nation in our ability to work in concert and if in fact we are
helping to assure that that kid over there who's not my kid has a chance at a good education or that guy over there who i'm not related to has a chance at a decent job and a decent retirement, i'm going to be better off. i'm going to be living in a society that is more cohesive and is, you know, going to create the kind of future for our kids that we all want. and that, more than anything, is at the core of the debate that i've been having with the republican party over the last several years. it's not just the details of the affordable care act or, you know, the minimum wage, because as i said yesterday in the speech, look, if you've got better ideas for achieving the same goal, put them out there. i'm not wedded to one particular way of doing things. but the central argument i have is, we do have an obligation to
each other, and there's some things we can do together. and in fact, the big challenging we have, whether it's integration, climate change, an economy that works for everybody, improving our education system, making college more affordable, competing in the world economy, dealing with questions of war and peace, those are not things that chris matthews or barack obama can solve by ourselves. by necessity, we're going to have to do those together. and if we can at least agree on that and agree that our system of self-government allows us to come together, to take on those big problems, then, you know, we can figure out the specific policies, and that's where we can compromise and negotiate. but what i will not compromise on is the idea for example we shouldn't have 41 million people in this country without health insurance. that i won't compromise on. that's where it gets to who are we as a country, and my own
sense of what my responsibilities are as president of the united states. >> well, we're almost done. i have to ask you a little question you may not hike to answer. >> ah-oh. >> this could be tough. it's an essay question. the qualities required of a president. vice president joe biden, former secretary of state clinton. compare and contrast. >> not a chance am i going there. here's what i'll say. both hillary and joe would make outstanding presidents. and possess the qualities that are needed to be outstanding presidents. they, i think joe biden will go down in history as one of the best vice presidents ever. and he has been with me at my side in every tough decision that i've made from going after bin laden to dealing with the health care issues to u name it. he's been there. hillary i think will go down in history as one of the finest secretary of states we've ever
had and help transitioned us away from a deep hole that we had when i came into office around the world and rebuild trust and confidence in the united states. and they've got different strengths. but both of them would be outstanding. i'd say that the most important qualities of any president, i'm not necessarily saying i have these qualities because i'm speaking historically. i think has to do with more than anything a sense of connection with the american people. that's what allows you, then, to have that second quality, which is persistence. if you know who you're working on behalf of, if you remember, as lincoln did, or an fdr did or a truman did or kennedy did, if you remember that person who you metz who was down on their luck
but was a good character and was trying to figure out how are they going to support a family, if you remember that young child who has big dreams but, you know, doesn't yet flow hknow ho they're going to get to college. if you feel those folks every day, that will get you through the set backs and the difficulties. and the frustrations. and the criticisms that are inherent in the office. and i think, you know, the interesting thing about now having been president for five years is it makes you humbler, as opposed to cockier about what you as an individual can do. you wreck nice that you're just part of the sweep of history. and your job, really, is to push the boulder up the hill a little bit before somebody else pushes it up a little further and the task never stops in perfecting
our union. but what makes me more confident than ever is the interactions i have with young people like this all over the country who still brief in this country, still are optimistic, fundamentally, about their futures. are problem solvers, are practical, the american people are good, and they are decent, and yes, times we get very divided, partly because our politics and our media, specifically, tries to divide them and splinter them, but, you know, we, we've got so much stuff going for us that as long as any president stays close to the people i think they're going to do all right. >> you know what i always thought was great about what you did in your early political career. this is just my own observation because i love studying politicians. you lost that race in the south
side to bobby rush and you got in your car and you drove out in the burbs with a map in the seat and said i'm going to do this thing. how many kids here want to go into politics. >> that's a pretty good number. >> are they right? >> it continues to be a way to serve that i think can be noble. it's hard. it can be frustrating. you've got to have a thick skin. and i know it's tempting to say, you know what, why would i want to get in the mud like that and get slapped around and subjected to all kinds of scrutiny, and so for those people who say i'd rather serve in other ways, through non-profits or through starting a great business and work with people who are completely on my side all the time instead of trying to undermine what i'm trying to get done, i understand that, and god bless you, that's part of what
makes this country great. we're not completely government centered. we've got all kinds of folks who are doing great stuff all around the country, but i till you, the satisfaction you get when you've passed a law or you've taken an executive action and somebody comes up to you and says, you know what? my kid's alive because you passed that health care bill, because he was uninsured. he got insurance, got a checkup, and we caught a tumor in time. or you see somebody and they say, you know, you helped me save my house. and i can't tell you what that means. it's pretty hard to get greater satisfaction than that. and so for those young people who don't mind a little gray hair, it's something that i not only recommend, but i'd welcome.
what did we see in the president, the man, the president obama who is a bit distant usually. what did we learn about him. >> first of all, i would like to say that you, chris and the students, got a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a president talking about what it's like to be president while he's actually president. he's gone from superman to rolling a boulder up a hill. he has a much more mature view but a moral view. i thought i made the moral case for obama care, for you folks to consider obama care as a measure of community in america. that's what motivates barack obama. he knows it's tough. >> he lifts it up. >> the last 15 minutes of this interview were extraordinary. i've never seen anything like it where a president kind of unburdened himself to you about why he's in the ball game. and i thought he made a very compelling case for his own decency, whatever the screw ups were managerially, and they were real. >> i felt like we saw two
interviews with the president. in the first half of that interview, you saw a man who was incredibly frustrated by what i think he sees as the smallness of the debate in washington where we don't talk about the big things, but we boil it down to petty fight, frustrated incredibly with the republicans and the media, but he was trying to move forward grand issue, somebody who really is in league or in line with the way the pope feels about social justice. this is a guy who fought for social justice. in that second half, i think you saw him stripped away from just the presidency to that guy. >> why did that happen? is it the bad poll numbers that just forced him back into being damn it, i'm going to defend who i am. >> he was very self reflective. as i think he is prone to be but
perhaps more so now in public. and i don't know if this is a negative spin on this, maybe because he feels even more frustrated, he's trying to get not to the point where he's giving up, but he's trying to figure out what he can do. he was very explanatory in this interview. not a lot of fight. there's still a lot of fights to be had, even about saving obama care, but it was really stunning to me. he talked about persistence and the connection between a president and the public and that motivating persistence, but that's different than fighting. >> about why he would continue to fight. and as i say, comparing politics to rolling a boulder up the hill is a little different from the way he began his life in politics like popping a champagne cork. this is tuff stuff. he showed his own motivation. he said i remember every day. >> guy, he's been there before. i didn't have to remind him of being in that car all alone, an
african-american guy, heading out into the suburbs of illinois where no black guy's won anything, he's got the map, i've got to discover illinois so i can be elected senator after being beaten in a south chicago race. >> after the 2010 election, remember that, that was a tremendous blow, and he sort of reassessed his presidency and how you can move forward and started emphasizing some of what he talked about today, the difference in values between him and the republicans. when he said the government is us, that's like the grand slogan here. because we come together to do the things that you talked about. >> he said people are trying to restrict minority voting. how can they claim they believe in american exceptionalism when they try to screw the voter out of voting. >> i think you see a president who's looking beyond what the presidency itself can do and really yearning for, really hoping for people to recapture
that sense of hope that they can galvanize and work through, because he's completely sometime ey -- stymied by what's happening in washington. >> he's downtown sitting there, he's got three and a half years as you say, what are his goals, where is he heading for this in the tough sliding that he's got, and i think you got a rare glimpse and the viewers at home get a rare glimpse of how he's going to keep motivating himself. >> we've got to go.'ll be right from american university. the "hardball" college tour. honestly, i'm not looking for five-star treatment. i get times are tight. but it's hard to get any work done like this. then came this baby -- small but with windows and office.
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we're back at the american university here in washington, d.c. and the "hardball" college tour. i want to get a thought from you. bottom line from the president, what will you remember. >> i remember his deep belief in social justice reflective of what the pope has said. >> as opposed to what rush limbaugh said. >> change you can believe in, but making change happen is hard. >> rush limbaugh called him a marxist the other day. >> i saw a president who remains frustrated with the political
media culture that he has to work in and really wants to rally students here and people in the media. >> but you skeptic. he came to us today he came amongst us. >> he did it in the end, here today, chris, not by explaining specifics but by explaining why he's notice game to begin with. he's a professor, i don't know what the kids at au think, but i thought at the end it was extremely effective. >> when he said you can go do something else and not be poked apart like i am. >> he didn't oversell the politics. >> lots of other good options out there. >> it sounds like he might have been talking to his daughters. but anyway, thank you. and that's "hardball" for now. and i want to thank everyone for being with us tonight here. and thank you president obama of course for being our giuest on